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DJW

*** Official Uefa Champions League 11/12 Thread ***

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The tournament proper kicks off tomorrow. Here are this week's fixtures:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

19:45 BST Chelsea v Bayer Leverkusen

19:45 BST KRC Genk v Valencia

19:45 BST BVB v Arsenal

19:45 BST Olympiakos v Marseille

19:45 BST Apoel Nicosia v Zenit St Petersburg

19:45 BST FC Porto v Shakhtar Donetsk

19:45 BST Barcelona v AC Milan

19:45 BST Viktoria Plzen v BATE Borisov

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

19:45 BST Manchester City v Napoli

19:45 BST Villarreal v Bayern Munich

19:45 BST Internazionale v Trabzonspor

19:45 BST Lille v CSKA Moscow

19:45 BST Benfica v Manchester United

19:45 BST FC Basel v Otelul Galati

19:45 BST Ajax Amsterdam v Lyon

19:45 BST Dinamo Zagreb v Real Madrid

So just who can beat Barcelona for the title this year?

Leading the chasing pack are the two who came closest last year- Manchester United and Real Madrid. Both have made significant improvements to their squads this season- will it be enough to knock the Catalans off their perch?

My dark horses to go far are Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea, BVB and Milan. Each of these teams have a great starting XI, and with a little bit of luck, could well cause a few upsets. Bayern, in particular, will be desperate to reach the final on home turf. They're in the most competitive group in the tournament, but the momentum from potential progression may spur them on a lot further than expected. The two English clubs, City and Chelsea, both underachieved last season. However, both have made big improvements this season. We all know what Chelsea are capable of here, while Man City should benefit from the surprise factor. BVB have had a so-so start to the season in Germany, but on form, they are one of the top five teams in Europe, in my opinion. As for Milan....they should qualify from their group with ease. Last season, they had a great attack. This season, they now have a younger midfield and a stronger backline too. Who knows where they'll go?

In any case, it's shaping up to be another great year in the Champions League. You wish we were still involved, but you have to be looking forward to all the good football this tournament should produce this year.

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Tomorrow I'm looking forward to Dortmund vs Arsenal and Barca vs Milan and Wednesday Man City vs Napoli

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Tomorrow I'm looking forward to Dortmund vs Arsenal and Barca vs Milan and Wednesday Man City vs Napoli

These are the three games I'll be watching this week.

I reckon BVB, Barca and Man City will all win.

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Pity we aint in it but gr8 to have it back on the box :beer1:

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Can see man utd getting stopped only be real madrid or barca, barca will win it again i think . It will take something epic to stop them !

Man city will do well but cant see them getting to the final, same goes for chelsea!! Not too sure how the italian and german teams will get on, would like to see dortmund do well!

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A really tough competition this year with so many quality teams.

Finishing 1st in the group is more important than ever. I think there are definitely a few teams who can stop Barcelona.

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Chelsea v Leverkusen and Dortmund Arsenal will be good games. Genuinely think City have a chance of winning it.

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When you say go far as dark horses, what rounds do you mean?

Personally I think the likes of Milan/Dortmund will find it very difficult to make the QFs unless they get handed a very good draw in the last 16.

Everybody seems to think albeit it's the hardest group that Bayern Munich and Man City will both qualify without too much problems, would not be too surprised if Villarreal sneak one of those two positions, tight group.

Man City are a tricky one because they have some very talented players but the defence is still a problem area for me.

Man United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the top three teams, beneath that teams can cause problems but will need luck in the draws and against those three teams.

Porto would be my dark horses.

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Madrid at Zagreb tomorrow is a potential banana skin. Granted, Madrid are quality all over, but check out this atmosphere:

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When you say go far as dark horses, what rounds do you mean?

Personally I think the likes of Milan/Dortmund will find it very difficult to make the QFs unless they get handed a very good draw in the last 16.

Everybody seems to think albeit it's the hardest group that Bayern Munich and Man City will both qualify without too much problems, would not be too surprised if Villarreal sneak one of those two positions, tight group.

Man City are a tricky one because they have some very talented players but the defence is still a problem area for me. Could be a problem especially against the better teams.

Man United, Real Madrid and Barcelona are the top three teams, beneath that tare teams who can cause problems but will need luck in the draws and against those three teams.

Porto would be my dark horses.

I reckon Dortmund could well win their group. If they do that, then they could make the semis with a bit of luck.

With Milan, as you say, will almost undoubtedly need a good draw in the last 16 to go much further.

Honestly though, I reckon that at the QF stage, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man United aside, anyone can beat anyone on their day.

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I reckon Dortmund could well win their group. If they do that, then they could make the semis with a bit of luck.

With Milan, as you say, will almost undoubtedly need a good draw in the last 16 to go much further.

Honestly though, I reckon that at the QF stage, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man United aside, anyone can beat anyone on their day.

Certainly possible that they could finish top. Not sure if it was yourself that I discussed Dortmund with at the end of last season mate. Talking about how I felt they needed to add to their squad to have a real go in CL and league. Done well to keep most of their squad but I think Sahin will be a massive loss, signings have potential, but are they ready?

Albeit they were unlucky Dortmund still failed to qualify from a weaker group last season in the Europa League. Not to mention they have started poorly winning 2 out of 5 matches. Just think it could be too much for them.

Milan were pretty toothless last season especially against Tottenham and IIRC just finished above Ajax with only 2 wins out of 6? Still lack in the midfield, defence and goalkeeper not to mention Robinho/Zlatan's tendency of failing to deliver in the big knockout CL games.

Time will tell but what are the odds of a Dortmund vs Milan last 16 tie? :lol:

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5 great games!

BVB V Arsenal

Chelsea V Leverkuson

MAan Utd V Benfica

Barca v AC

Man City V Napoli

Don't know whether to watch BVB Arsenal or Barca AC Milan, never really get to watch Dortmund play cause I don't have ESPN but the BArca match will be better. Hmmm...

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Some excellent fixtures over the group stage, posted them in the other thread.

13th Sept - Dortmund vs Arsenal and Barcelona vs Milan

14th Sept - City vs Napoli, Villarreal vs Bayern, Benfica vs MU and Ajax vs Lyon

27th Sept - Bayern vs City and Napoli vs Villarreal

28th Sept - Valencia vs Chelsea, Marseille vs Dortmund and Zenit vs Porto

18th Oct - Napoli vs Bayern, City vs Villarreal, Lille vs Inter and Madrid vs Lyon

19th Oct - Leverkusen vs Valencia, Marseille vs Arsenal and Shaktar vs Zenit

1st Nov - Valencia vs Leverkusen, Arsenal vs Marseille and Zenit vs Shaktar

2nd Nov - Bayern vs Napoli, Villarreal vs City and Lyon vs Madrid

22nd Nov - Napoli vs City, Bayern vs Villarreal and Lyon vs Ajax

23rd Nov - Leverkusen vs Chelsea, Arsenal vs Dortmund and Milan vs Barca

6th Dec - Chelsea vs Valencia and Dortmund vs Marseille

7th Dec - City vs Bayern, Villarreal vs Napoli and Ajax vs Madrid

As Broxi said it's hard to decide which game to follow, Barcelona vs AC Milan has more appeal but going by footballing styles Dortmund vs Arsenal could well be the more exciting contest.

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I reallly just want man utd to win, i like barcelona for the way they play and i think that its great how most the team is home grown but dont want to see them winning it again, the last 2 years they have done it have been greatly helped by dodgey refereeing it has to be said !! Also i am sick of the barca suck ups on tv and on here so just wanna see them proved wrong!

I dont really like mourinho i think he's very unsporting and cant take defeat like a man!!

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Agree with you in regards to how it gets boring with the Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and the EPL/LA Liga debates mate, but to be fair it's just as boring seeing the myths about Barcelona getting decisions all the time.

Why do people never talk about the decisions that went against Barcelona(and there is a few btw) in the games against Chelsea and Arsenal?

1.gif

That cracks me up. :lol:

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Certainly possible that they could finish top. Not sure if it was yourself that I discussed Dortmund with at the end of last season mate. Talking about how I felt they needed to add to their squad to have a real go in CL and league. Done well to keep most of their squad but I think Sahin will be a massive loss, signings have potential, but are they ready?

Albeit they were unlucky Dortmund still failed to qualify from a weaker group last season in the Europa League. Not to mention they have started poorly winning 2 out of 5 matches. Just think it could be too much for them.

Milan were pretty toothless last season especially against Tottenham and IIRC just finished above Ajax with only 2 wins out of 6? Still lack in the midfield, defence and goalkeeper not to mention Robinho/Zlatan's tendency of failing to deliver in the big knockout CL games.

Time will tell but what are the odds of a Dortmund vs Milan last 16 tie? :lol:

Gundogan was good in the first game against Hamburg, but really seems to have struggled since then. I think he CAN replace Sahin, but he really needs to kick on a bit.

The rest of the team....I think it's pretty solid, but there are some problems. Firstly, if Bender gets injured, who comes in to replace him? Neither Antonio Da Silva nor Florian Kringe are really good enough, while Kehl's always injured. Also, they're playing a system specified Barrios with Lewandowski instead. He's a good player, but I don't think they're using him correctly. Kagawa's struggling for form too.

When they zip the ball around at top speed, very few teams would be able to live with them. As you say though, they struggled in Europe last year. Can they step it up for the Champions League? It'll be interesting to follow.

As for Milan, agree about the goalkeeper, but I think that they've improved in defence and midfield. Mexes and Silva has the potential to be one of the best CH pairings in Europe IMO. Taiwo's a good addition on the left, but although he improved substantially last season, I don't think Abate is good enough to be the starting Milan RB. Their midfield looks much better with Nocerino and Aquilani, not to mention El Shaarawy, but if Allegri keeps relying on Gattuso, Ambrosini and, to a lesser extent, Seedorf, then they'll struggle to go further than the last 16. Their strikeforce is very hot and cold too. Of course, when they're performing to their potential, getting to pick two from Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho and Cassano is tricky, but too often they go missing.

All in all, I reckon Milan have the potential to go far, but if certain players go missing, then they'll almost definitely be out by March.

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Agree with you in regards to how it gets boring with the Xavi, Iniesta, Messi and the EPL/LA Liga debates mate, but to be fair it's just as boring seeing the myths about Barcelona getting decisions all the time.

Why do people never talk about the decisions that went against Barcelona(and there is a few btw) in the games against Chelsea and Arsenal?

1.gif

That cracks me up. :lol:

Looks like Ballack's playing basketball :lol:

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Dortmund v Arsenal will be getting watched.

Anyone think AC could get a result tomorrow? I wouldn't be suprised.

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There was the barca inter semi final when inter were lucky i agree - inter should never have been down to 10 men that early in the second leg though that red card was a disgrace so i was happy to see inter win but the decisions in the first leg certianly went against barca and you dont hear mourinho bring that up!!

The pepe red card in the bernabeu and the RVP one at the nou camp were shameful! RVP one was worse, arsenal were going through at the time aswell fair enough it was going to be hard for them, barca would probably have scored again but if you have van persie up front theres always a chance you can nick a goal from somewhere so barca could have been put out when he was still on the pitch, after that there was only going to be one outcome, it is devestating to see the decision was so shameful he hit the ball not even a second after the whistle had gone in the biggest stadium in europe on a big european night , you hate to see it in football , fair enough it wasnt the barcelona players fault but the decision wouldnt have gone against messi had it been at the other end!! what really bugged me about this was the pundits attitude at the end "well you can complain about this but your up against probably the best team of all time..." as if it someway made that decision acceptable!!

The pepe one was a soft one and obviously changed the game, then there was the wrongly disallowed goal they had at the nou camp , had they ben 1-0 up that early in the game anything could have happened!!

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Barca AC on tv tomorrow?

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Previous post!

There is no disputing that decisions have went in Barcelona's favour and the second yellow to Van Persie was a joke, as was the non penalty when Pique clearly handled the ball against Chelsea. Even Gus Hiddink said Pepe deserved to go because if Alves kept his leg planted it would have been a broken leg. Alves's reaction was terrible and both teams were pathetic last season.

But why do many of these decisions never get mentioned!?

Chelsea

*Abidal wrongfully sent-off

*Henry stonewall penalty

*Ballack handball in both games.

*Essien on a yellow card and taking Messi right out

Arsenal

*Messi onside goal at 1-0.

*Handball from Djourou(IIRC it was him)

*Arshavin handball in the box at 2-1, clear as day

*Villa having a claim for a penalty when Koscienly took him out

*Song made about 15 fouls and somehow stayed on the park

*Van Persie's stamp on Messi was a straight red card itself, never even got booked for it.

Real Madrid

Marcelo stamp that should have been straight red card

Diarra constantly fouling and could easily have been sent-off in both games

Carvalho/Alonso very lucky in the second leg

Adebayor smashing people in both legs

In both of those first leg ties against Arsenal/Chelsea, Barcelona clearly got decisions go against them that would have completely changed the complexion of the tie....

Apologise to DJW for going off-topic and I will reply to your post next and not post about previous CL ties anymore :(

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As for Milan, agree about the goalkeeper, but I think that they've improved in defence and midfield. Mexes and Silva has the potential to be one of the best CH pairings in Europe IMO. Taiwo's a good addition on the left, but although he improved substantially last season, I don't think Abate is good enough to be the starting Milan RB. Their midfield looks much better with Nocerino and Aquilani, not to mention El Shaarawy, but if Allegri keeps relying on Gattuso, Ambrosini and, to a lesser extent, Seedorf, then they'll struggle to go further than the last 16. Their strikeforce is very hot and cold too. Of course, when they're performing to their potential, getting to pick two from Ibrahimovic, Pato, Robinho and Cassano is tricky, but too often they go missing.

All in all, I reckon Milan have the potential to go far, but if certain players go missing, then they'll almost definitely be out by March.

Certainly be interesting to watch how Dortmund get on in the CL.

Totally forget about Aquilani if he stays fit he will be a fantastic addition, will Mexes play before Nesta? Nesta is way past his best and should not be a regular first pick. Don't rate Taiwo or Abate, full-back area is pretty weak defensively.

As you said will depend on what midfield he puts out, Gattuso, Aquilani and Kevin-Prince Boateng would be my trio and even at that it's hardly anything fantastic.

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Certainly be interesting to watch how Dortmund get on in the CL.

Totally forget about Aquilani if he stays fit he will be a fantastic addition, will Mexes play before Nesta? Nesta is way past his best and should not be a regular first pick. Don't rate Taiwo or Abate, full-back area is pretty weak defensively.

As you said will depend on what midfield he puts out, Gattuso, Aquilani and Kevin-Prince Boateng would be my trio and even at that it's hardly anything fantastic.

I'd imagine that Nesta will play until Mexes is fully fit. Then, Allegri has a big decision on his hands. Domestically, Nesta-Silva works fine, and it's always a risk changing your established centre back pairing a couple of months into the season. On the other hand though, Mexes is a top class defender. I would say it's worth the gamble.

Meant to ask you: PMs working?

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I'd imagine that Nesta will play until Mexes is fully fit. Then, Allegri has a big decision on his hands. Domestically, Nesta-Silva works fine, and it's always a risk changing your established centre back pairing a couple of months into the season. On the other hand though, Mexes is a top class defender. I would say it's worth the gamble.

Meant to ask you: PMs working?

I'd go with Mexes and Silva.

No mate, still the same message :disappointment:

[#10227] You are not allowed to use the private messaging system.

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I agree with you rangers no1 - its not really going off topic aswell as we have to review last seasons CL to talk about this one as no matches have ben played yet!!

Refs have a hard job, i cant deny barca were the best team in europe last season so it was fair that they won it! I just dont want them to win it this season!

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